Q&As

As a general rule, and unless there is a contrary indication, are parties able to extend by agreement any statutory limitation period (ie by entering into a standstill agreement to either suspend or extend the running of time)?

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Published on LexisPSL on 14/07/2021

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • As a general rule, and unless there is a contrary indication, are parties able to extend by agreement any statutory limitation period (ie by entering into a standstill agreement to either suspend or extend the running of time)?

As a general rule, and unless there is a contrary indication, are parties able to extend by agreement any statutory limitation period (ie by entering into a standstill agreement to either suspend or extend the running of time)?

For a general understanding of the provisions of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980), see: Limitation—overview, in particular Practice Note: Limitation Act 1980—general application.

Provided a limitation period has not already expired and the standstill agreement is drafted appropriately, it can be possible to extend the statutory limitation period. Standstill agreements are more prevalent in areas such as: professional indemnity litigation, personal injury claims and other practice areas which focus on the tort of negligence. The reason for this is that extensive and time consuming investigations are required at the outset of these claims before a claim may be progressed. The pre-action protocols in such claims focus on obtaining and sharing information to avoid litigation, except as a last resort. In such cases, the parties may wish to pause the limitation clock to enable informed negotiation and investigation and to dissuade one party from issuing prematurely or unnecessarily to protect their position in terms of limitation.

It is less likely that a defendant would agree to make the claimant’s task easier where they have delayed litigation without good cause or where matters appear straight forward and they are

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